“Time Norms” in Danish Schooling – Transition From Kindergarten to Primary School

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The family and children are historically subject to many norms. Since the late 18th century, the child, family, and community have been subjects of standardizing the ideal of citizenry as a means of regulating populations for the welfare-state (Popkewitz, 2003). The child and family are vital sites of the social welfare system’s modern politics. This paper highlights and discusses how “being a good school parent” and “being a good student” is something that is part of the Danish school and preschool institutions’ contemporary time norms (Lidén, 2001; Schmidt, 2017). This is studied by analyzing parents’ and kindergarten children’s encounters with school’s time norms in various social situations, which are part of cultural rites of passage that help to regulate norms (Westerling et al., 2020; Olsen, 2015). This theoretical paper about how to grasp “time norms” in pedagogical transition practices is part of a project that analyzes which time norms parents and children encounter in concrete practices when they are welcomed at school and how they act in the situated contexts (Ehn & Lofgren, 2001). By getting close to the micro-social processes in transitions in children’s lives, we analyze how parents and children are to be socialized through time norms.

Inspired by May and Thrift (2003), who argue that time is inextricably tied to the spatial composition of society, this paper investigates which norms parents and children must display in the contemporary Danish public school as the composition of a specific space with a specific time and how they do this. The parents’ and children’s encounters with school is understood through May and Thrift’s notion of “timespace” (May & Thrift 2003). Timespace refers to the sense of time produced through practices of social discipline, whereby sense of time is structured by the spatial organizations evident within those locations (Lingard &Thompson, 2017). Hence, this paper argues that the parents’ and children’s encounters with school is an interactive process where standards of sense of time norms and understandings of relationships are pieced together as a central part of the practice of social discipline (Bartholdsson, 2009), in which a particular person is created (Hacking, 2002). By analyzing the school’s time norms in transitional practices, the obvious practices through which the school tries to regulate and promote certain standards of behavior among parents and children is made visible. With this, the paper opens up new ways for professionals to rethink time and space.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date1 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2023
EventEuropean Conference on Educational Research - University of Glasgow, Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 22 Aug 202325 Aug 2023


ConferenceEuropean Conference on Educational Research
LocationUniversity of Glasgow
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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